Category: Imperialism
US Foreign Policy = War
worker | August 31, 2021 | 8:20 pm | Imperialism, Iran | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202108291083745205-us-foreign-policy–war/

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US President Joe Biden this weekend warned Iran that “other options” will be used if the failed nuclear deal is not restored through diplomacy.

In American official parlance, “other options” is a polite way of threatening to use military force.

The threat is all the more sinister given that Biden uttered the words while sitting beside Israeli premier Naftali Bennett in the White House. Israel has repeatedly vowed to launch military strikes on Iran even if the United States signs up again to a nuclear accord with Tehran.

That’s the nuclear treaty signed in 2015 by the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia along with Iran. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) imposed restrictions on Iran’s nuclear industry preventing weaponization. In return, harsh international economic sanctions would supposedly be lifted off Iran.

 

It was the United States under Trump that walked away from the legally binding deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran. European weakness in deferring to American sanctions forced the Iranians into partially revoking their commitment to nuclear restrictions by increasing stockpiles of enriched uranium, the metallic substance used for nuclear weapons. Not that Iran has got anywhere near the level of enriched uranium required for making a bomb. And in any case, Iran has consistently disavowed the intention to obtain nuclear weapons

During his 2020 campaign for the presidency against Trump, Biden promised to return the US to the international nuclear deal with Iran. Nine months into his presidency, there is no sign of Biden delivering on his promise. Multiple rounds of negotiations in Vienna have gone nowhere because the Biden administration insists that Iran must make the first concession of full compliance in nuclear activities.

Tehran says the onus is on the US to first lift its sanctions to restore the nuclear deal.

The Biden administration has shown no willingness to reverse the harsh economic measures imposed by Trump.

Furthermore, the Biden White House is continuing the unprecedented demands that any new nuclear deal must have add-on restrictions against Iran’s conventional missile defenses. That’s like buying a car, then bringing it back to demand upgraded upholstery, alloy wheels, and so on.

A handout picture released by Iran's Atomic Energy Organization on November 4, 2019, shows the atomic enrichment facilities Natanz nuclear research centre, some 300 kilometres south of capital Tehran.
© AFP 2021 / HO
A handout picture released by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization on November 4, 2019, shows the atomic enrichment facilities Natanz nuclear research center, some 300 kilometres south of capital Tehran.

The American bad faith here is stupendous. They unilaterally pulled out of an international treaty that was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council; they reimpose illegal sanctions that amount to economic warfare; and Biden not only backtracks on election promises, but he also wants to rewrite a deal that Washington signed up to six years ago.

On top of all that brazen skulduggery, the US president threatens to make war on Iran if it doesn’t sign up to American demands, which he characterizes as “diplomacy”. All this while sitting beside the leader of a country – Israel – which has an illegal stockpile of up to 300 nuclear missiles and which threatens Iran all the time.

You could not make this American absurdity up. Even more farcical and heinous, Biden is threatening war – which in itself is a crime of aggression under international law – in the same week that the United States is finally retreating from Afghanistan in the disgraceful defeat of its 20-year illegal military occupation of that country.

You would think that maybe, just maybe, after such a diabolical debacle of military futility and orgy of crimes against humanity, the US leaders might have a little pause or shame. Not the Americans. Even in the jaws of catastrophic defeat, they are contemplating their next war.

Washington’s record of waging wars around the planet is as fiendish as it is futile. How many wars, how many defeats, how many deaths? You would think a nation that spends over $700 billion a year on its military – more than 10 times that of Russia – might just win at least one war. The monumental failure of US militarism is astounding and yet that fact is barely mentioned in Western media – that’s the power of propaganda for you. 

But winning wars is not the real purpose. US militarism – or if you like state terrorism – is central to propping up its atrophied capitalist economy and enriching the elite. In that very narrow definition, then arguably American warmongering has succeeded. For a time.

Though, ultimately, it is unsustainable and heralds the coming collapse of American society and what remains of its global power.

As Biden’s criminal and insane threats to Iran make plain, Washington doesn’t practice diplomacy. Its so-called “foreign policy” and “rules-based order” is Orwellian rhetoric to hide the blunt truth.

US policy equals war.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

‘US Declaring War on China’: Experts Shocked as Senator Reveals 30,000 American Troops Are in Taiwan
worker | August 18, 2021 | 7:22 pm | China, Imperialism | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/asia/202108171083635355-us-declaring-war-on-china-experts-shocked-as-senator-reveals-30000-american-troops-are-in-taiwan/

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A senior US senator, also a member of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on his social media revealed that the US has 30,000 soldiers stationed in China’s Taiwan island.

Chinese experts said if this is true, it is a military invasion and occupation of China’s Taiwan and equivalent to the US declaring war on China.

If the tweet is correct, China could immediately activate Anti-Secession Law to destroy and expel US troops in Taiwan and reunify Taiwan militarily, experts noted.

In the tweet, Senator John Cornyn listed the number of US troops stationed in South Korea, Germany, Japan, China’s Taiwan and on the African continent to show how the number of US soldiers has dwindled in Afghanistan. But in the process, Cornyn revealed the shocking news that there are 30,000 US troops on China’s Taiwan island.

​His tweet raised a wave of doubts among netizens with many commenting below his tweet: “how come the US still has troops in Taiwan,” “so the US army has a secret division in Taiwan,” “Cornyn must have mistaken the number,” and “this should have been before 1979”.

As a senior senator from Texas, who was once a Republican Senate Majority Whip for the 114th and 115th Congresses, and now a member of US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Cornyn should be aware of the US government’s military intelligence.

Thus, the possibility that the US is hiding 30,000 troops in China’s Taiwan island cannot be ruled out, and there is a probability the secret was accidentally spilt out by this senior US politician, Chinese observers said. As we know, the US has maintained military communications with China’s Taiwan including weapon sales and military training.

Despite the controversy and continuous comments under his tweet, Cornyn did not make any corrections and hasn’t deleted his tweet as of press time.

A demonstrator holds flags of Taiwan and the United States in support of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during an stop-over after her visit to Latin America in Burlingame, California, U.S., January 14, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
© REUTERS / STEPHEN LAM
A demonstrator holds flags of Taiwan and the United States in support of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during an stop-over after her visit to Latin America in Burlingame, California, U.S., January 14, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

The Taiwan island “defence department” made a low-key denial on Tuesday, saying it is wrong and it would not comment on it, Taiwan-based media outlet SETN.com reported.

China and the US established diplomatic relations in 1979 on the condition of the US ceasing official relations with the island and withdrawing all US Army from the island. Secretly hiding 30,000 troops in Taiwan island would seriously violate the Sino-US diplomatic agreement, seriously violate international law, and even the domestic law of the US, a Chinese expert specializing on the Taiwan question told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

“I would choose not to believe this is the real case”, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday. If the US really secretly stations 30,000 soldiers in China’s Taiwan island, the US as an external force is interfering with China’s internal affairs which violates China’s Anti-Secession Law. This would touch off a military conflict between the two countries, Song said.

China firmly opposes any US military personnel’s involvement in Taiwan affairs, or US soldiers setting foot on the island or launching any kind of military cooperation with the army of Taiwan island, Song said.

Taiwanese troops conduct military drills in January 2021 in Hsinchu County, northern Taiwan
© AP PHOTO / CHIANG YING-YING
Taiwanese troops conduct military drills in January 2021

Some observers said if this is true, it’s tantamount to a military invasion and occupation of China’s Taiwan, and an act of declaring war on China. They have urged the US government and the Taiwan authorities to clarify Cornyn’s tweet.

If the US really has troops stationed in Taiwan – even if the number is small – it would be a serious matter that has broken the bottom line. Those US troops must withdraw immediately and unconditionally, and the US government and Taiwan authorities must publicly apologize for this, observers noted.

This article was originally published by the Global Times

Gutting Anti-Imperialism 
worker | August 13, 2021 | 6:53 pm | Fascist terrorism, Imperialism | Comments closed

A new posting –

Gutting Anti-Imperialism  

– from Greg Godels is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/Where human rights doctrines served a liberating purpose, unleashing human potential and providing protection against feudal caprice and privilege during the rise of capitalism, they now are more often instruments of manipulation and oppression in the era of moribund, decadent capitalism... To read more, please go to: https://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/2021/08/

Covid End of US Empire?
worker | August 12, 2021 | 5:53 pm | COVID-19, Imperialism | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202108111083581935-covid-end-of-us-empire/

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The United States is facing perfect storm conditions for the grueling continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic. The long-term economic impact could hasten the end of its global power as we know it.

Infections, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise again – as they are in other capitalist states. But the outlook for the U.S. is uniquely bleak.

Already, the US has the shameful title of having the world’s biggest death toll from the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and its disease Covid-19. At over 630,000 deaths, that represent nearly 15 percent of the world’s total. Despite a relatively high level of vaccination (50 percent of the population), the disease appears to be resurgent.

OCTAVIO JONES
Ambulances stand outside Morton Plant Hospital amid a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Clearwater, Florida, U.S., August 3, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

The problem for the United States is the dominance of capitalist imperatives over social policy which prevents a coherent, effective public health strategy. The imperative of private profit is also present in European nations, but to a lesser extent compared with the US. Britain is probably closer to the US than any other European country in its compliance with capitalist interests, and it is no coincidence that Britain has the worst Covid-19 mortality in Europe, despite having a high rate of vaccination.

Compliance with capitalist interests prevents a proven policy of containing and eradicating the Covid-19 virus. That policy is best seen in practice in China where the government implements strict lockdowns, travel restrictions, widespread testing, rapid tracing of infections, masking-wearing in public, and mass vaccination. However, that policy is made feasible because China’s socialist system provides the public resources to enable compliance. Public health is the priority, not commercial interests.

By contrast, in the United States, the public is largely expected to bear the costs of lockdowns, long-term unemployment and general living costs. With an over-reliance on vaccination alone, the Biden administration is declaring the end of lockdowns, social distancing and wearing of masks. Government aid for the unemployed and rental assistance for families is being terminated.

Workers are being forced back to workplaces and schools are being reopened in total denial of the epidemiological scientific advice to maintain isolation. Why? Because of the imperative for capitalist businesses to resume profit-making. And of course, without adequate government support to laid-off workers, many millions of citizens are frustrated by the need to get back to work.

One can easily understand anti-lockdown protests when people are not given financial support to cope with lockdown. The problem is not the practice of public health policy per se, it is the practice of public health policy in a capitalist society where there is little support for furloughed workers.

People in masks stand on the observation deck of the Empire State Building during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S.
© REUTERS / ANDREW KELLY
People in masks stand on the observation deck of the Empire State Building during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S.

Another distinctive problem for the United States – and to lesser extent European states – is the inordinate level of misinformation. Millions of Americans believe that there is no pandemic. Despite the death toll and prevalent sickness, it is incredible that so many people are convinced that the pandemic phenomenon is all a hoax. Such a view is particularly popular among Trump supporters and US Republicans who hold the outlandish conspiratorial belief that it’s all a giant ruse to take away individual liberty, impose a “Grand Reset” and a “fascist liberal tyranny” (what a discombobulation!).

This kind of unscientific conspiracy delusion feeds into other irrational convictions that are opposed to wearing face masks in public or against the administering of vaccines. Irresponsible pundits and media commentators especially on the right-wing Murdoch outlets Fox and Sky promulgate anti-vaccination theories that are deterring large sections of the population from taking up inoculation. Some of the wilder fringes actually believe that vaccines will turn us into zombies as in the horror film, I Am Legend. Then these same pundits talk about the danger of “Covid civil war” breaking out. Well, they have helped create an atmosphere of confusion, fear, ignorance and distrust.

The United States is doomed. In its private-profit-driving society, all basic measures of public health management are confounded. On top of this, the level of misinformation and misdirection also further thwarts a rational plan to contain the pandemic. That is why we are seeing a grave resurgence in the pandemic across the United States. By failing to contain the disease, the perfect storm conditions in the US make for the emergence of new deadlier variants of Covid-19. The biggest worry is that the existing vaccines will no longer be effective against a newer virulent strain of the virus.

Millennia of history attest that deadly plagues have altered the course of history and have even wiped out civilizations.

For most of the past century, many observers have pondered on whether the United States and its global imperial power would be taken down through war with a geopolitical rival such as the Soviet Union or more recently Russia and China.

Then along comes an invisible danger, a virus, that is ripping through the United States in a way not foreseen. And the vulnerability of the US is all down to its own internal failings as a capitalist society saturated with misinformation.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

End Criminal US Wars Not Just Illegal Killings
worker | July 7, 2021 | 8:56 pm | Imperialism | Comments closed
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The Pentagon has been castigated for undercounting the deaths of civilians in its foreign military operations. That might seem like ethical criticism. But it’s woefully not enough. Ending illegal US wars should be the real focus.

Two US lawmakers have this week complained to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin over a Pentagon report which purports to account for civilians killed accidentally by American forces.

Representative Ro Hanna and Senator Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats, rebuked the Department of Defense (DoD) for minimizing the number of casualties. The lawmakers cite open sources that indicate the Pentagon underestimated deaths by a factor of five.

Calling for a further investigation into the Pentagon’s admissions, the lawmakers stated: “We need to openly consider all the costs, benefits, and consequences of military action, and that includes doing everything we can to prevent and respond to civilian harm.”

The Pentagon report in question is an annual accounting of civilian deaths caused by US forces in foreign operations. It claims that there were only 23 civilians killed during the year 2020 in military deployments across six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria.

It is by no means the first time that the Pentagon has been accused of underestimating its “collateral damage”. In a previous report for 2019, it claimed responsibility for 132 civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria whereas open-source figures put the death toll for the period at nearly 10 times higher.

On reading the latest US military report, it sounds like the epitome of legal probity and humanitarian scruples.

It states (page 5): “All DoD operations in 2020 were conducted in accordance with law of war requirements, including law of war protections for civilians, such as the fundamental principles of distinction and proportionality, and the requirement to take feasible precautions in planning and conducting attacks to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and other persons and objects protected from being made the object of an attack.”

However, to get hung up on the narrow issue about the exact number of unlawful killings inflicted by the American military, or on whether those deaths amount to war crimes or not, is to miss a much more important point. That is, the entire US military presence in these foreign countries is illegal and arguably amounts to the supreme war crime of aggression.

The Pentagon report admits to operations in just six countries. No doubt there are more nations where US covert forces are deployed. But let’s just take the six admitted to.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were the result of US lies and fabrications about the perpetrators of 9/11 and weapons of mass destruction. There was no justification for these wars which caused millions of deaths over a span of two decades. Doing an annual audit on civilian deaths is obscenely misplaced.

Those entire military operations were “permitted” by ad hoc US laws known as Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Under international law, the only foreign military deployments that are legitimate are those mandated by a right to self-defense from imminent attack, or by the UN Security Council, or by a request from an allied government for assistance. Arguably, the US launched its wars on Afghanistan and Iraq without meeting any of these criteria.

In the cases of Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria, the illegal presence of US forces is even more salient. The invocation of AUMF laws by Washington is grotesquely tenuous. It is simply a carte blanche to invade foreign nations and bomb at will. That is nothing less than aggression and state terrorism.

So, while Democratic lawmakers in the US may sound ethical in their criticism of the Pentagon over counting civilian casualties, their concern about “proper accounting” and “costs and benefits” is really a sham.

The real and only issue is to end all criminal US wars that are being waged in multiple countries simultaneously. American lawmakers and the American public need to realize that their government is guilty of war crimes, not just guilty of glossing over human horrors.

American leaders shouldn’t be receiving letters of complaint. They should be receiving warrants for prosecution over war crimes.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Caitlin Johnstone: The lie that a kinder, gentler US Empire is possible
worker | June 14, 2021 | 8:48 pm | Imperialism | Comments closed

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/526330-caitlin-johnstone-us-israel/

Caitlin Johnstone: The lie that a kinder, gentler US Empire is possible

Caitlin Johnstone: The lie that a kinder, gentler US Empire is possible
The main rift among the American left wing is between people who seek an end to the imperialist murder machine, and people who just want the imperialist murder machine to give them healthcare.

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar has once again been the center of an artificial controversy launched in bad faith, this time over a tweet where she mentioned the United States and Israel in the same breath as Hamas and the Taliban as perpetrators of “unthinkable atrocities”.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” Omar said while sharing a video of her wildly unsuccessful effort to get a straight answer from Secretary of State Tony Blinken on accountability for US and Israeli war crimes.

This provoked a bunch of ridiculous garment-rending histrionics from Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, not because it is absurd to compare murderous warmongering regimes like the US and Israel with vastly less destructive regional forces like Hamas and the Taliban, but because it is considered unacceptable in mainstream politics to suggest that the US and Israel are anything other than beneficent powers who at worst make the occasional innocent oopsie.

This pathetically mild criticism of a power structure which has killed millions and displaced tens of millions just in the last two decades, during a pathetically unsuccessful attempt to get any kind of concession about war crimes and crimes against humanity from a prominent US official, drew so much outrage and vitriol from the US political/media class that Omar was once again forced to issue another pathetic walkback of her comments.

“On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about ongoing International Criminal Court investigations,” Omar said in a statement on her congressional website. “To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel.  I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

And that is it, ladies and gentlemen. That is as far as you are allowed to take criticism of the empire in mainstream American politics. Even that level of feeble, impotent criticism is far outside the boundaries for anyone in the mainstream political/media class.

So, in case it wasn’t already clear to you, progressive Democrats are a joke. They’re not a real thing. If they are literally barred from even meaningfully criticizing the US empire, let alone actually working to dismantle it, they’re a joke. They will never succeed in advancing any kind of real progressive agenda.

There’s this unspoken and unquestioned assumption among progressive Democrats that it is possible to advance progressive agendas without actually ending the US empire. That you don’t need to actually dismantle the US empire and strip down its military to the bare bones in order to get nice things like universal healthcare, a living wage, and more ethical behavior on the world stage.

This is pure fantasy. It will never happen.

As long as the US is the center of a globe-spanning empire, it will be necessary to keep Americans too poor, too busy and too confused to interfere with the operation of the machine. You cannot allow a critical mass of Americans to have enough money to spend on political campaign donations, to have enough free time to research what’s actually happening in their world, to be sufficiently stress-free to look up and realize that your government is murdering children in their name, and also keep the empire running smoothly. You cannot have an imperialist oligarchy who runs things and also have income and wealth equality.

The empire feeds on oppression, exploitation, ignorance, and blood. It is impossible to dominate the planet with a unipolar world order if you don’t use violent force, and the threat of violent force, to uphold that world order. If you’re not strangling people at home and bombing people abroad, then you cannot have an oligarchic empire. Period.

The main rift you see on the leftmost end of the American political spectrum is between people who seek an end to the imperialist murder machine, and people who just want the imperialist murder machine to give them healthcare. The first group faces a very difficult uphill battle to get what it wants. The second group is just masturbating an impossible fantasy.

This is how you can tell who is for real and who is not: do they want to dismantle the oligarchic empire, or don’t they? If they do, they’re fighting for something real, but the oligarch-owned political/media class will not give them a platform. If they don’t, they may get a punditry job or a seat in congress, but they won’t ever actually give you anything besides feel-good empty narrative fluff.

 

The solution, as I always point out, is to work together to destroy and discredit the oligarchic propaganda apparatus which enables the empire to determine who gets a platform and who doesn’t. As long as they are able to uplift vapid fauxgressives who pretend it’s possible to have a kinder, gentler US empire and marginalize people who actually want to dismantle the status quo, there will never be enough public awareness to force real change. All positive changes in human behavior are always the direct result of an expansion of awareness, so spreading awareness of the fact that there is an oligarchic empire which is exploiting and deceiving everyone should be the foremost priority of anyone who wants real change.

It’s not that you can’t beat the machine, it’s that you can’t beat the machine using the tools the machine has given you. A grassroots effort to wake each other up to reality is a very achievable goal, and once enough eyes are open, anything is possible.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Will Congressional quest for answers on Brazil’s Operation Lava Jato reveal it to be yet another CIA coup in the Americas?
worker | June 10, 2021 | 8:46 pm | Brazil, Imperialism, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva | Comments closed

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/526117-lava-jato-us-brazil/

Will Congressional quest for answers on Brazil’s Operation Lava Jato reveal it to be yet another CIA coup in the Americas?

Will Congressional quest for answers on Brazil’s Operation Lava Jato reveal it to be yet another CIA coup in the Americas? 
For years, the anti-corruption probe Lava Jato was hailed as the dawn of a new Brazil, in which democracy and the rule of law reigned supreme. Now, it’s clear it was a shameful set-up – with the US involved every step of the way.

On June 7, a coalition of Democratic lawmakers wrote to US Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting answers about the role of the Department of Justice (DoJ) in Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato in Portuguese), the grand Brazilian anti-corruption investigation launched in 2014 that ignominiously collapsed in February this year.

Noting it to be a “matter of public record” that DoJ representatives supported Brazilian prosecutors involved in the operation, they stated that an agreement was “evidently” reached between Brazilian and US authorities providing for a “substantial share” of the fines rendered from prosecuting Brazilian companies under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to be given to the very prosecutors and judges involved in Lava Jato, and to fund the creation of a “private foundation in Brazil totally administered and controlled by the same Brazilian prosecutors.”

The lawmakers concluded, “We are particularly concerned that the income produced from the enforcement of important US legislation dedicated to fighting corruption, could have ended up going to ends not entirely consistent with democracy, rule of law, equal justice under the law, and due process – not to mention Brazilian legal and constitutional requirements.”

That Washington was involved in Lava Jato, which saw more than 1,000 warrants issued, 429 people indicted and 159 convicted, and numerous high-profile business leaders and politicians – most notoriously Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president between 2003 and 2010 – jailed, had been clear since 2016, when US federal courts levied record fines against state energy company Petrobras.

ALSO ON RT.COMPower vs people? Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former president of BrazilHowever, this suspect element of the probe was completely ignored by Western news outlets, as were clear indications from its inception that prosecutions were being pursued on dubious, if not non-existent, grounds.

For instance, Lula’s July 2017 conviction for money laundering and corruption charges was based entirely on the coerced testimony of a sole individual – and in his sentencing, presiding judge Sergio Moro failed to define a specific crime of which the former president was guilty, basing the verdict purely on his own “conviction” that Lula had done “something.”

As a result, Lula was precluded from running for the presidency in 2018, paving the way for the election of Jair Bolsonaro, who subsequently appointed Moro as minister of justice and public security. It was a move enthusiastically received both within and without Brazil, for his crusading efforts had made him something of a media sensation – in 2016, he was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 most influential people,” despite local news outlets that same year having exposed his illegal wiretapping of Lula’s defense team.

It was not until June 2019 that the judge’s mainstream fortunes finally took a turn for the worse, when journalist Glenn Greenwald began publishing a series of articles based on leaked Telegram conversations between individuals involved in Lava Jato.

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Humanitarian’ agency USAID was ‘key tool’ for Washington undermining the Venezuelan government, official review revealsThe communications showed that Moro had provided insider information to prosecutors, helped direct their legal actions, briefed them on their media strategy, and requested that operations be launched against relatives of witnesses, to ensure convictions were secured. In November that year, Lula was finally released from prison after 580 days.

More recent leaks have revealed that the Lava Jato team conducted scores of secret, illegal meetings with FBI operatives throughout the seven-year probe. However, Moro’s ties to US state agencies have been a matter of public record since 2010, when WikiLeaks published a State Department telegram related to a week-long US Embassy-sponsored course laid on for judges, police, and prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro.

The document notes that many attendees expressed an interest in receiving further training from the DoJ on prosecuting money laundering cases, and were keen to collaborate with Washington in this field, contrary to Brasilia’s official position, under the auspices of the “fight against terrorism.”

Moro wasn’t a passive presence at the event, leading a talk on the “15 most common issues” he encountered in Brazilian money laundering cases. The telegram goes on to outline a dedicated program, “Projeto Pontes” (Bridges Project), to “bring together US and Brazilian law enforcement in different venues” and “build on our relationships and exchange best practices.”

ALSO ON RT.COMInternal emails reveal that the Dutch government suppressed White Helmets’ financial fraud – what else are they hiding?The following month, Brasil Wire records that he and prosecutor Karine Moreno-Taxman – who was then based in the US Embassy in Brazil, and helped select participants for the week-long training course – were both present at the Brazilian Federal Police Agents Association’s fourth congress in the north-eastern city of Fortaleza. Moro was lead speaker in a panel discussion on corruption and organized crime arguing for changes in the law and more judicial autonomy in investigating crimes against public administration.

Moreno-Taxman then led a panel of her own, which viewed from a present-day perspective gives every appearance of setting out a clear blueprint for the subsequent Operation Lava Jato. For one, she proposed that Brazilian authorities maintain an informal system of collaboration with their US counterparts, circumventing formal cooperation structures as set out in international treaties.

Another key suggestion was manipulating public opinion in prosecutions of high-profile figures to engender loathing of those under investigation. “Society needs to feel that that person really abused the job and demand that he be convicted,” Moreno-Taxman is reported to have said, a message she’d been propounding across Brazil at a variety of US-sponsored events for two years by that point. It seems likely these lobbying efforts formed part of Projeto Pontes.

When Lava Jato collapsed earlier this year, further leaked Telegram conversations exposed how prosecutors cheered Moro’s decision to incarcerate Lula on April 5, 2018, as it prevented a Supreme Court vote that would have allowed defendants to be spared jail pending appeal. The operation’s chief, Deltan Dallagnol, dubbed the news “a gift” from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Had that motion been successful, Lula would have been free to run for president that year – and victory seemed assured, for he was polling 20 points ahead of Bolsonaro.

ALSO ON RT.COMBogus story of Iranian interference in Scottish politics shows Western media to be the true election meddlerToday, polling for the 2022 general election places him in much the same position – perhaps unsurprisingly, given that during his initial seven-year spell in office, Brazil’s economy became the world’s eighth-largest, more than 20 million were raised out of acute poverty, and annual economic growth reached up to seven percent. As Lava Jato is estimated to have damaged foreign investment to the tune of $33 billion and wiped out 4.4 million jobs, a great many Brazilians will be hoping Lula makes a triumphant return to the Palacio da Alvorada.

Seemingly undeterred by the operation’s unceremonious unravelling, at a June 3 White House press conference a nameless “senior administration official” revealed that “components of the intelligence community,” includingthe director of national intelligence and CIA, would be fundamental in “establishing the fight against corruption as a core US national security interest.”

“We’re just going to be looking at all of the tools in our disposal to make sure that we identify corruption where it’s happening and take appropriate policy responses,” the official said.  

It’s unclear whether an “appropriate policy response” will entail the covert selection and grooming of a fresh anti-corruption taskforce in another foreign country, although legal apparatchiks overseas would do well to think twice before accepting clandestine offers of fame and fortune in return for fitting up troublesome political figures for crimes they didn’t commit. The once-celebrated Moro is now utterly disgraced, and under investigation for seven separate counts of felony judicial bias. Still, the mainstream media seems oblivious, and that’s the main thing.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.